Adult education exists in many forms, including professional development, lifelong pleasure-based learning, on-the-job skills training, and leadership enhancement, among others. Many resources are available to teach "teachers" how to utilize TPACK model in the K-12 setting. However, there is less published research about specific use of the framework in adult learner settings. Nonetheless, educators can utilize TPACK but within it, must also focus on andragogy, the unique characteristics and needs of adult learners. Kelly (2012) emphasizes the principles of andragogy in the quotation of three Malcolm Knowles’ adult learner characteristics; 1) when teaching adults the lesson should have a value of practical applicability, 2) contain relevancy to adult experience, and 3) within the lesson the ability to accentuate autonomy. Inquiry-guided learning and an experiential learning approach are two excellent andragogical approaches for adult learning. Both instructional approaches provide reflective autonomy for the adult learner in the achievement outcomes.

BrainMass put together a short video series titled "Adult Learning Techniques For Facilitators" that addresses many of these considerations.

Self-Directed Learning through Web 2.0 Technologies

For those of us facilitating adult learning, the knowledge that enters our classroom can fall anywhere from novice to expert. In the past, lesson planning was more of a “One size fits all” approach. As we gain understanding of the TPACK framework, and the research behind it, we must learn to plan to meet the learner where they are. With the numerous technological platforms available, lesson planning can move from lecture to a more self-directed pedagogy. Offering different avenues of learning through technology can meet the adult learning needs and styles where they are, on demand for a continuous learning experience. Below are two papers one a journal article “Reorienting self-directed learning for the creative digital era” identifying strategies for self-directed learning through incorporation of technology and the other “Understanding self-directed learning in the context of mobile Web 2.0” a study looking at learner outcomes.

Adult Learning /Training and Development

E- Learning has become a significant component of training and development within the corporate environment. Ensuring that e-learning facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and skills can be challenging if the e-learning teams cannot assert competency in creative applications of instructional design, learning theories, and technology. While how to value the adult learner in online courses in the academic environment has received some attention, very little is known about how the adult learner in e-learning is valued within corporate settings.

The adult learner and e-learning within a corporate setting is tied to performance and productivity. As a result, the value for the adult learner in e-learning starts with the integration of four champion factors, they are: leadership, learning culture, technology infrastructure, and finance. The link provided is to the article entitled: Valuing the adult learner in e-learning: part one- a conceptual model for corporate settings.

TPACK: An Exercise in Metacognition

Though there is little published related to TPACK and adult learning, particularly as it relates to corporate training and education, I have found great value in working through lessons in this EDT 514 course because these lessons have forced me to reflect on my thinking as an adult educator. I've been required to break down processes and think critically and analytically on practices and tactics that have become so second-nature to me that they occur almost without thought as to why we do certain things or how the various stages and processes relate to one another. In forming TPACK-based lesson plans, the exercise of dissecting the pedagogy, the content, and the technology, and deliberating over their interconnections as a lesson is planned and delivered has helped me to slow down my thinking and be more purposeful in my planning. What I would hope to see in the future for the TPACK approach to be more applicable in the adult learning field is the application of andragogical frameworks and approaches to the model. I also think that a more purposeful ending to the TPACK process that moves into strategic implementation would be helpful.

Sample TPACK Lessons

TPACK Lesson Used in Defining Prospective Careers for Adult Learners

In spite of the need for autonomy in learning some adults are dependent upon teacher directives. Computer assisted career guidance (CACG) programs can provide quality assessments defining prospective careers for returning adults learners seeking better career opportunities.

TPACK Lessons Used in Teaching Nursing Skills

This lesson involves required skills for Registered Nurses:

The following lessons were all developed as tools to help Registered Nurses with Burnout:
Superballs - Important for Life
Practicing Gratitude to Increase Positivity
Signature Strengths - One Way to Generate Bounce

TPACK Lessons Used in Resume Building

The following lesson is designed for adult learners who are interested in increasing their success at finding a position in their field by strengthening their resumes with the guidelines provided.

TPACK Lesson Used in CLOUD computing in the Healthcare Industry

Introduction to cloud computing with M+Box and M+Google and it's affordances and constraints in the healthcare setting.

TPACK Lessons Used in Creating Online Courses

The following TPACK lesson plans were designed for faculty who would be learning to create their own online courses in an internal proprietary learning management system.

TPACK Lesson Used in Cyberbullying Forum

TPACK Lesson Plan for Adult Learners Using Project-based Learning and Windows Movie Maker
This is a TPACK-aligned lesson plan that teaches religious content by employing the andragogical method of project-based learning with the technological integration of Windows Movie Maker.

TPACK Lesson Plan for Adult Learners Using Debate and Multimedia
This is a TPACK-aligned lesson plan that teaches religious content by employing the andragogical method of debate with the technological integration of multimedia.

Additional Resources in Educational Technology for Adult Learners:

Helpful Articles

TPACK Lesson Form

What I thought was easily the most useful resource I encountered in this course, particularly given the rarity of exposure to TPACK's use in adult ed:

TPACK Lesson Plan Template
Here is a quick guide to ensure that your lesson plan being created aligns with the TPACK concept.

Fully-Developed TPACK Lesson Plans Using Movie-Making Projects
Here is a website that has more than 100 lesson plans for various project-based learning projects using movie-making software. It offers skills that cannot be otherwise garnered save participation in these types of projects.

Johns Hopkins School of Education - “The Internet as a Path to Adult Learning”
This resource focuses on internet-based learning in the instruction of adult learners. This article covers:
  • Imperativeness and history of internet-based learning
  • Current trends in learning
  • Andragogical theory
  • Learner-centered teaching with internet-based instruction
  • Learner-centered teaching without internet-based instruction

Digital Storytelling in Adult Education: Toward a Conceptual Framework
This resource delineates the benefits of utilizing the andragogical strategy of digital storytelling, which is at the center of project-based learning, in teaching adult learners.

Engaging Adult Learners Through Project-based Multimedia Learning
While this resource focuses on K-12 students, the benefits of implementing project-based multimedia learning are universal. The skills fostered through this method are necessary for adult learners as well. This article explains project-based multimedia learning and how to implement it effectively into the curriculum.

Review of Adult Learning - Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology, University of Georgia
This resource does a pretty good job of delineating the variables and theories of adult learning. It also covers additional components of adult learning. The major topics include:
  • Andragogy
  • Variables affecting adult learning
  • Toolkit for facilitators of adult learning
  • Learning theories related to adult learning
  • Teaching strategies


Kelly, N. (2012). The information battlefield. Training, 49(6), 10-12.

Kim, J., Pedersen, S., Baldwin, M., (2012). Improving user satisfaction via a case enhanced e-learning environment. Education & Training (54)2: 204-218.

Schachar, M., Neumann (2010). Twenty years of research on the academic performance differences between traditional and distance learning: Summative meta-analysis and trend examination. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. (6)2:318-334.

Waight, C. L., & Stewart, B. L. (2005). Valuing the adult learner in e-learning: Part one - a conceptual model for corporate settings. Journal of Workplace Learning, 17(5), 337-345. Retrieved from

Ward, C.,Kushner-Benson, S. (2010). Developing new schemas for online teaching and learning: TPACK. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 6(2)